Usually, rudiments.
the elements or first principles of a subject: the rudiments of grammar.
a mere beginning, first slight appearance, or undeveloped or imperfect form of something: the rudiments of a plan.
Biology. an organ or part incompletely developed in size or structure, as one in an embryonic stage, one arrested in growth, or one with no functional activity, as a vestige.

1540–50; < Latin rudīmentum early training, first experience, initial stage, equivalent to rudi(s) unformed, rough (see rude) + -mentum -ment (-ī- for -i- after verbal derivatives) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rudiment (ˈruːdɪmənt)
1.  (often plural) the first principles or elementary stages of a subject
2.  (often plural) a partially developed version of something
3.  biology an organ or part in its earliest recognizable form, esp one in an embryonic or vestigial state
[C16: from Latin rudīmentum a beginning, from rudis unformed; see rude]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1540s, from M.Fr. (16c.), from L. rudimentum "early training, first experience, beginning, first principle," from rudis "unlearned, untrained" (see rude).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

rudiment ru·di·ment (rōō'də-mənt)

  1. An imperfectly or incompletely developed organ or part.

  2. Something in an incipient or undeveloped form. Often used in the plural.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Similar to cows, the pronghorn has a rudiment stomach, or a four-part stomach.
Related Words
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